Patient Medical History-Confidentiality (HIPAA)
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, mostly affects the confidentiality of patient medical records including prescription records. HIPAA has placed safeguards to protect patient confidentiality. All healthcare facilities must provide information to the patient and document how they protect the patient’s health information. In the pharmacy, this may include any transmission of prescription data to anyone other than the patient and the healthcare professional, or it may include an area designed for private counseling. Every pharmacy must receive HIPAA training with annual renewals to ensure compliance. Pharmacy Technicians can receive HIPAA/Patient Confidentiality training by completing continuing education or through on-the-job-training. After the completion of HIPAA training, the employee will receive a Certificate of Training that will be placed in their personnel file. For pharmacy technicians, this means they must not, under penalty of law, reveal any information on any patient outside the pharmacy. Violation of this law will include heavy fines and/or jail time. A pharmacy is required by law to maintain the privacy of protected health information (PHI). Personal health information must be protected from unauthorized use and access. To be in compliance, healthcare workers must remove or conceal from view any information that can identify the patient. Patient identifiers are defined as information that could identify the patient. In the pharmacy, shredding all patient-related information rather than discarding it in the trash is common practice. Even used prescription vials with patient-labeled information must be discarded appropriately (e.g. black out the patient name with a marking pen or peel the label from the vial and discard). As a technician, be extra vigilant and sensitive when maintaining patient confidentiality. In addition, be sure to understand the policy and procedures of your pharmacy. Maintaining the privacy and security of health information is an extremely important ethical and legal issue. In addition to HIPAA regulations, the pharmacy technician should use common sense and be sensitive and respectful of customer privacy. As a pharmacy employee, you are part of the healthcare profession and must adopt a helpful, no-nonsense, professional attitude toward the body and its functions. Speak in a clear and quite voice, but not so loudly that other customers or employees can hear the private exchange with between you and the customer. With a caring attitude and a compassionate spirit, a pharmacy technician can focus on serving the patient in a private and confidential manner. Earn your way to this rewarding career now by enrolling on our Pharmacy Technician training.